While you were sleeping or getting ready for your day depending on when you wake up, some of the best golfers in the world were teeing it up in Abu Dhabi for the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The European Tour’s social media team is SOOO much better than the PGA Tour’s. Give them a follow on Twitter and Instagram. This has nothing to do with the event this week just an observation.
The opening round saw fog delays, eagles, a strong leaderboard and lots of content.
The calendar year opened for the European Tour with the image below. How creepy is fog? I understand the science of it (I don’t really). Either way fog kind of rocks.
Rory McIlroy shot a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to hold a one-stroke lead. Making his first start of the year, Rors looked confident on the greens. I couldn’t find the shots gained putting numbers, but he did make birdie putts of 12 feet, 13 feet, 13 feet, 28 feet, 15 feet, eight feet and 26 feet. Cannot remember a round where he made two birdies over 25 feet. He was rolling it PURE.
If you read my gambling picks post yesterday, hopefully you followed my advice and put some cash on Rory to finish higher than Justin Thomas. While McIlroy cruised to a 64, JT never really got comfortable and entered the clubhouse with a one-over-par 73. So yeah, that’s a nine-stroke advantage for Rory after day one as JT will have his work cut out for him to make the cut. Bad pun maybe, but it’s the truth nonetheless.
Tyrell Hatton sits just one shot back of McIlroy thanks to making not one, but two eagles. He opened his day and the 2021 season with an eagle three on the par 5 10th and he made another three for a big bird on his ninth hole of the day as well.
As always, it was not all rainbows and butterflies for Hatton as we got this incredible GIF following an errant tee shot (he still made par).
I have hit some bad tee shots in my day, but I never drop the driver on my follow through. Maybe I just expect three out of five drives to be bad. I might add this move to my arsenal on the links. There is nothing quite as funny as a sarcastic thumbs up. Truly the best in my book.
Also, how fun is it to be the volunteer that gets to yell FORE or give the directional miss with your hands. I aspire to do that someday.
Speaking of eagles, Matthew Wallace holed out for a double circles 2 on the first hole (his tenth of the day). He stuck an absolute dart in there and grabbed the putter with confidence. No need, bud. Already in for eagle. Have you ever played a round with someone that’s done the “Oh, maybe it’s in the hole!” act when you know they skulled it 30 yards over the green out of bounds? Because I have definitely done this.
I am a big fan of the green shot tracer (thanks to sponsor Rolex) that the European Tour uses. The juxtaposition of it in the sunny sky is awesome. Sometimes, I’m simple like that.
It always amazes me that these pristine courses exist in places like the desert. Check out this course.
The PGA Tour event in California is just getting underway.
Looking forward to another fun weekend of golf.
FOLLOW THE EUROPEAN TOUR.